Oh boy, the Prva Liga hasn’t been this fun in a long, long time.
As it stands, there is only a five-point gap between first and fourth place in the HNL table. Rijeka and Osijek’s victories over Hajduk and Dinamo this weekend proved that each team in the top-four is a serious contender for silverware this season. Is it finally time for Croatia to have a champion other than Dinamo Zagreb?
The title race might just come down to who can make the fewest errors going forward. Each contending club has serious flaws that will take more than a few months to solve. For example, Hajduk still need to connect some dots and produce chemistry up front. Dinamo must reboot Petković’s crumbling career and find someone to enhance Oršić’s superpowers. Osijek need to avoid dropping any points against weak sides. And Rijeka could really use one more star player to upgrade their squad.
Dinamo Zagreb has looked awful in their past few league matches, presenting a golden opportunity for other sides to potentially leapfrog them in the standings. Dinamo is not the empire that it once was, and others are seriously catching up – words pleasant enough to make a grown Hajdukovac cry tears of joy. Hajduk, Rijeka, and Osijek: more than half the nation and dijaspora is calling on you to defeat the monster and break the norm. This is your year.
On another note, the league hasn’t been this wide open for years, proving that critical growth is taking place in the HNL. The additions of Drmić, Livaja, and Kalinić will be crucial going forward, as more aging and struggling (yet talented) footballers will begin to find homes in the Croatian first-tier. Regardless of who you root for, anyone in support of the HNS and Croatian football as a whole should be celebrating the fresh competitiveness of the league.
Cheers to another few months of terrific entertainment in the Prva Liga!